When winter weather keeps us from bicycling outdoors, we often use “spin-class” DVDs produced by cycling coach Graeme Street.
One such session was all about accelerating. A particularly useful piece of advice from that class has stayed with me: Resist the temptation to speed up by shifting to a harder gear. When you do that, your pedaling speed (cadence) can’t help slowing, and you actually lose speed. Then you struggle to catch up to tempo.
Instead, increase your cadence first, then shift up. Pedaling faster in the easier gear raises your speed even before you shift. This gives you momentum so that when you do shift up, it’s easier to maintain your cadence, and you speed up.
Not only do I use this “easy-first” technique when cycling out on the road, but I’ve noticed the principle applies to other areas of life. A few examples…
Eating habits: It’s really hard to drop unhealthy foods that taste wonderful. And then what? You feel deprived, limited to celery and rice cakes? Ewwwww. Instead, start easy by adding fresh, healthy goodies. Then, as you acquire a taste for them, the momentum helps you drop the chicken-fried steak and gravy.
Writing fiction: For years I’ve plodded through the gaps between exciting moments in my stories, typing through a verbal wilderness in hopes of making it to the next pivotal scene. But I’m learning to write the key scenes, which is fun and easy, first. Then I can go back and sketch in the intervals. This is not only easier on me, but my readers won’t feel like they spend half the book watching my character do laundry or sit working a crossword puzzle. (Yawn)
I should have known there’s nothing new under the sun. I recently found Jesus taking a similar “easy-first” approach to help someone get rid of some very, very heavy baggage.
The Gospel of Luke, 11th chapter, tells the story. In verse 14, Jesus cast a mute demon from a man, who could then speak. When the Pharisees accused Jesus of using demonic power instead of God’s power (that’s just how the Pharisees rolled), Jesus spoke about “a house divided” and knowing whose side you are on. Then, in verses 24-26, he warns about having an unclean spirit sent away, but then leaving yourself empty… leaving room for the enemy to come back with reinforcements.
As the Wycliffe Bible Commentary says, “The vacuum left by the banishment of evil must be filled with that which is good, or else the evil will become worse.”
Sort of like my chicken-fried-steak example, the man needed to “fill up” with God so he wouldn’t fall prey again to the evil one.
It’s all about momentum.
Easy does it!
Thanks for reading,